Sylvain Landry’s blog is a meeting place for photographers. Self loves participating in his photo challenges. The first of his Year 2 photo challenges is: SELFIE.
Self hates posing for pictures, but not when she’s taking a selfie. When she takes a selfie, the inner imp emerges and self’s smiles are always big as big. Thank you, Sylvain Landry, for the start of another great year of sharing!
This selfie is special for another reason: She bought the jacket from an Edinburgh department store, and the dress from a Tesco, the year she did a residency at Hawthornden. She was there June 2012. And that is where she met two British writers who ended up being fast friends: the poets Jenny Lewis and Joan McGavin.
This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is RARE: Post a photo of something you regard as “scarce and singular.”
Here are some rare things:
Dedication from a novel by Irish writer Maeve Binchy:
Here’s a one-woman press from Boston, MA: Kattywompus Press. It takes guts to run a press, anyone can tell you:
Finally, a must-see for book-lovers everywhere. It’s called The Last Bookstore, and it’s on S. Spring Street, downtown Los Angeles. Part of a vanishing breed. Their logo says it all: “What are you waiting for? We won’t be around forever.”
Even while I was getting ready, mending my torn trousers, tying a new strap to my hat, and applying moxa to my legs to strengthen them, I was already dreaming of the full moon rising over the islands of Matsushima.
— from The Narrow Road to the Deep North, translated from the Japanese by Nobuyuki Yuasa
1689, Basho made three major journeys in his lifetime. The Narrow Road was the result of the third and last. He was 50.
The Lonely City, by Olivia Laing, is a work of nonfiction.
It’s a collection of essays about lonely people.
Self’s on Essay # 2, “Walls of Glass,” which delves into the work of painter Edward Hopper and one painting in particular, Nighthawks, which can be seen at the Whitney (one of self’s favorite New York museums).
The painting is something the author returns to, again and again, during a lonely fall. She followed a lover to New York and it didn’t work out. Something about Hopper’s painting resonates with her.
Self decided to throw in a photograph of her own. It documents her enduring fascination with windows, her fascination with glimpses of other lives. Photo after the excerpt:
All photographs are silent, but some are more silent than others, and these portraits attest to what was by all accounts Hopper’s most striking feature, his gigantic resistance to speech. It’s a different thing from quietness, silence; more powerful, more aggressive. In his interviews, it functions as a barrier, preventing the interviewer from opening him up or putting words into his mouth. When he does speak, it’s often simply to deflect the question. “I don’t remember,” he says frequently, or “I don’t know why I did that.” He regularly uses the word unconscious, as a way of evading or disclaiming whatever meaning the interviewer believes to be seeping from his pictures.
Self is only on p. 12 of The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone but already she’s come across at least 12 passages that she thinks are worth quoting. (Who is Olivia Laing? Writer for The Guardian, The Observer, New Statesman and The New York Times)
The only thing self disagrees with Laing on is her disdain for social media as a tool for getting over the loneliness. Ms. Laing, social media gives self a reason to stay home! Locked up in her room! And feeling happy about it! It does wonders for self’s state of mind! You better believe it!
Self would rather be on social media than out there, on the street, fighting for every possible scrap of attention from salespeople. She’d rather mail-order than go to a store where she’ll waste precious time just hunting for parking or getting shoves from impatient people. She might be a super-slow walker but she’s an absolute Demoness of the Keyboards!
. . . at fourteen I was lent an 8 mm camera and put the viewfinder to my eye. Framing the world — in black and white — made my heart beat faster and clarified my sense of purpose without my consciously knowing for a moment what that was.
— Introduction, Naked Cinema: Working With Actors
Have any dear blog readers seen Potter’s film, YES? Because self saw it for the first time at London Review Bookshop in May, and it is brilliant.